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Worthing College statement on the future of its Performing Arts provision

9 May 2023

Worthing College has taken the decision to withdraw our provision of Performing Arts courses from September 2023, due to low numbers of students and applicants for these courses. 

Courses which started in September 2022 and are due to complete next summer (2024) will continue, and students will see no disruption to their learning. 
Applicants who have already applied for either the single A-level or RSL equivalent in Performing Arts (Music, Drama, Dance, Music Practitioner or Dance) or the double award in Creative and Performing Arts will be offered the opportunity to explore alternative options at Worthing College, as well exploring the option of a full level 3 Performing Arts course at our nearby Northbrook College.  
Please see below statements from Helena Thomas, Principal of Worthing College and Northbrook College, and Andrew Green, Chief Executive of Chichester College Group.  

A Statement from the Principal 

Helena Thomas, Principal of Worthing College and Northbrook College: 

“Following a series of intensive planning meetings, looking at the way we deliver our Performing Arts courses at Worthing College, I can confirm that we have made the decision to change our delivery of these courses – closing the provision at our Worthing College site. 
“First and foremost, I’d like to apologise for any concern this has caused. It is never an easy decision to change our curriculum – especially at this time of year.  
“Unfortunately, student numbers on these courses are low which has provided challenges. However, by consolidating our Performing Arts provision with Northbrook College we believe we will be able to provide a better student experience by offering a fantastic, well-round holistic education that will help them achieve their career aspirations. 
“They will study a full-time level 3 qualification at Northbrook College, which has industry-standard facilities and – like Worthing – a team of exemplary teachers and lecturers with a wealth of experience, or an alternative level 3 course from our comprehensive suite of A-levels at Worthing College. 
“There will be no redundancies to staff, as our teaching teams from both Worthing and Northbrook will come together as one team – working together, sharing best practice and to further grow and develop our provision for the benefit of students across the region.  
“I would also like to assure our current students that there will be no disruption to their learning, and they will be able to complete their second year at Worthing College as planned, working with our expert staff. 
“We know this decision will have been disappointing, but we firmly believe we can offer students a fantastic experience on a course which has an extremely high success rate, with almost all performing arts students at Northbrook last year progressing to university, higher education or employment.” 

A statement from the Chief Executive  

Andrew Green, Chief Executive of Chichester College Group: 

“We know many people – including students (current and future), staff and parents – will be concerned following this news, and I would like to also apologise for any concern this decision has created. We understand your views. 
“Student numbers in the performing arts department at Worthing College have been low, which is why we looked at sustainable alternative solutions which offer high-quality learning opportunities and provide a better student experience. 
“I know it has been inaccurately reported on social media and via an online petition that the decision to change our provision was linked to funding cuts made by Chichester College Group – this is not true. 
“However, Chichester College Group – like all further education institutions – continues to be impacted by severe underfunding by the Government. 
“Colleges up and down the country have faced more than a decade of cuts and increased costs, as well as the impact of rising inflation and soaring energy bills. All the while, the sector continues to be largely side-lined in the Government’s annual budgets – despite the significant pressures we face. 
“That means we have to make decisions that protect our staff and enable us to offer local students with high-quality courses that meet their needs, as well as those of industry. By consolidating our Worthing-based performing arts courses in one location, we can do that.”